We Are Butterfly Club Feature: Princeton Pong
by Barbara Wei
Widely Successful Princeton Pong Result of Fortunate Student and Coach Relationship
Four years ago, the future cofounders of Princeton Pong, Flint Lane and David Zhuang, met for the first time in a basement in New Jersey. Flint had played recreational table tennis for most of his life, but had never witnessed or participated in the professional sport until that fateful evening when his wife sent him to take a lesson with 6x US Table Tennis Men’s National Champion David Zhuang as a surprise gift. After losing to David 11-0 multiple times, Flint was hooked on improving his table tennis game and started taking lessons fervently.
However, Flint found it difficult to find a professional place to play near his hometown of West Windsor, NJ, despite a growing interest in the sport from the community. So, after some discussion, Flint and David decided to step up to the plate, “go all out” and build what is today one of the fastest growing table tennis clubs in the country, boasting more than 200 members less than a year after opening. Princeton Pong officially opened its doors in August, 2014 with a grand opening event that featured local media and current Princeton University students and 2012 Olympians Ariel Hsing and Erica Wu.
Equipped with 14 tables, professional lighting and red flooring, the 10,000 square foot facility welcomes players of all levels into its bright, clean and cheery space. When entering Princeton Pong for the first time, players are greeted at the door and directed to the program that best aligns with their goals. Princeton Pong offers an exceptionally wide variety of table tennis programs including private lessons, group lessons, summer camps, junior group training sessions, league nights and sanctioned tournaments. In addition, the club has a large designated area for birthday parties and corporate events that make it ideal for private parties of all kinds. For those unsure if they want to commit to any program right away, Princeton Pong offers an “Open House” day once a month to allow players to try out the facility and meet the coaches for free.
The future of Princeton Pong couldn’t be brighter, as the club continues to grow and serve the table tennis community of central New Jersey. Flint and David hope the club will soon join the ranks of well-known table tennis powerhouses in the future; ones known for their ability to develop future junior and national champions. Locally, Flint hopes that he can start a thriving inter-club league that continues to grow the sport in the US.